Kendall's Conundrum

Kendall couldn't believe this. Why did she end up getting stuck in situations like these? It was bad enough to wake up looking like this, in an older dude's body, for Heaven's sake. But to wake up next to some woman? It was just too much. Not to mention the killer headache she had whenever she first came into control. Maybe that was courtesy of a hangover. She groaned and rubbed her forehead to ease the pain a bit. That was a little better at least.

Why do you do this to me? Seriously. I do not need this. Especially not when we need to focus on where to go next. Thoughts, suggestions? Yeah, I didn't think so. I've got this one, guys. It's my turn now.

She could handle the constant chatter in her head. She didn't mind the endless conversations, or even the solitude when one of the others pushed her into the farthest corner of this crowded mind like Brynt liked to do. Yeah, he wanted to be the one in charge, but she liked to give him a run for his money. Normally, she didn't let things slide, but when he had pointed out that they were going to fall off their horse if they didn't stop for the night, she'd reluctantly agreed with him on that point.

What she didn't agree with was getting drunk. With this interdimensional thing in their possession, they couldn't afford to be caught in that state, or to stop for too long with pointless pastimes like gambling or bedding strangers.

And for that, she deserved to have a little fun. With a flourish of her hand and a theatrical shower of glitter, she began to transform. Masculine arms became sleek and more well-defined, delicate yet strong. Her body slowly seemed to shrink to a perfect height and size for a slender, petite young woman. The hair turned lighter and grew, longer and longer until it hung halfway down her back in loose, tousled waves.

Much better.

She stood and, now that she no longer looked like the magician, walked over to the mirror to view herself. She took in her usual appearance--she wouldn't look at herself unless she looked like this--long, sandy blonde waves, ocean colored eyes, and a petite, slim body with a young face that could only belong to a teenager nearing adulthood. Now for the real fun! These dude clothes had to go. She wrinkled her nose in distaste at the clothes, yet couldn't totally repress a grin at being back in control and making herself look the way she was supposed to. With a snap of her fingers, her clothes shimmered, sparkled, and reformed into a black ruffled strapless dress that fell to her knees with a wide magenta belt at the waist. A bold neck scarf in the same magenta with thin satin stripes of black completed the look. The woman thankfully didn't wake yet, so Kendall busied herself with adorning her face in the customary bright, bold makeup colors she loved. That done, she flopped back on the bed hard enough to wake the sleeping woman and smirked.

"'Morning, sweetie. Have fun last night?"

Kendall couldn't help but laugh when the woman shrieked, grabbed the covers to herself, and took off running from the room. Shaking her head, Kendall stood and slipped her feet into some long black boots that hit her mid-thigh before grabbing the interdimensional device. She would have loved some cute heels, but that would so not work if she had to run.

Out in the hallway, Kendall heard the woman scream again, and she stiffened. That scream was obviously more than just from being seen by strangers while wrapped only in a bed sheet. Great. Just great. Because Brynt and Jackpot wanted to have some fun and take it easy, they were all about to get caught. She just knew it!

Sure enough, some guy stepped into the doorway, carrying a gun. And she'd heard him call Jack Pot's name. Too late for Kendall to even try making an escape. Maybe she could talk her way out of this. If she were lucky, this guy wasn't who she thought he was. If she were lucky, he wouldn't know who she was, either. Kendall didn't come around often, and she was the only one who made it a point to change appearance when she did. So maybe this could work. Maybe this guy was a friend of Jack's. Or owed him money or something.

"Do I look like a jackpot?" she snapped, crossing her arms and tilting her chin defiantly. She shook her head, tempted to close the door in his face. Ok, what now? Should she play it off and try to get past him? Or should she slam the door in his face and go out the window before he could force his way in?

He eyed her up and down. "You just might, little darlin'. You just might. You should come with me tonight to the card table. You could be my good luck charm."

"You really don't know me, do you? A darlin' I'm not. Anyway, I'm flattered, really, but I can't. So sorry. I'm on my way out." Kendall arched an eyebrow and didn't look sorry in the least. Or flattered. "You looking for a friend of yours or something?" She casually leaned against the doorframe, not wanting to talk to him any longer than necessary but needing to find out who this dude was. She wasn't yet ready to admit she knew Jack until she knew more about this guy.

"Don't be so quick to run off." He put an arm across the door to block her path, then leaned in closer toward her. "Something like that. They say this is his room. Now, what would you know about that?"

Kendall smirked. "Why would I know anything about some dude called Jack Pot?"

"Some girl ran from your room screaming. You tell me."

Kendall allowed her smirk to widen. "Not that my personal life is any of your business, but some girls just can't take it rough."

He laughed, a wicked gleam in his eyes. "A fiesty one. I like it!"

"Whatever. So, what's your business with this Jack, whoever he is?" Kendall met his gaze impassively, playing the part of nothing more than a harmless, curious girl.

"Well, now, I could tell you all about it over breakfast. But then you'd know too much."

"Wouldn't want that. So on that note, I should just leave you to wait for this Jack. Maybe he'll be back. " She pushed his arm away in an attempt to get past his blockade.

He kept his arm in place, holding her gaze. "I don't want you to go. You're fun. I like you."

Kendall felt a bit of bile rise in her throat. "Tell you what. Wait for me here while I go run my errands, and I just might be back to meet you for breakfast. If not, maybe you'll find your friend Jack...or something."

Reluctantly, he let his arm fall to his side and allowed her to pass. "Don't go too far."

"Sure." As Kendall pushed past him and trooped down the stairs, pausing just long enough to spare a glance back at him and fake a smile. Relief flooding her body, she muttered, "Hold your breath till I get back."

She pushed the front door open after stopping quickly to fill her canteen and stepped out into bright sunshine. She had no idea where she should go, but she knew one thing. She was not going to Area 17. No way. They'd experiment on the device and probably wreak all kinds of havoc with it, maybe worse than whatever the witch would do. No, Kendall was catching a train in the opposite direction. There had to be a secret cave or something out that way where they could destroy the device. Nobody could ever be allowed to use it. Finding her...ride...she mounted and set off. The others in her head started chattering at her, disagreeing with her plan, but Kendall wouldn't listen.

Shut up already! Look, if you have any sense, you'll know I'm right about this. Just trust me for once. I know what I'm doing.

The End

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